Tag California

Coast Modern

Modern architecture, especially the buildings from the Case Study Program, are often associated with Southern California. But architects up and down the Pacific Rim were experimenting with new materials and new spatial forms. The excellent independent documentary Coast Modern captures inventive spirit the architects, the daring support of the clients and the stunning homes they created together.


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Hall of Records

Written, filmed and edited by Scott M B Gustafson

Completed in 1962, the Los Angeles County Hall of Records was designed by Richard Neutra and Robert Alexander. Modulart sculptural features on the facade were created by Malcolm Leland. This building houses government offices and county records. An early example of climatically tuned Modern design, the building features several types of sun shades on the north and south facades. The large aluminum vertical louvers on the south facade once moved while tracking the sun but are now fixed in a single position.

It has been said that the most sustainable building is one that already exists. The county does not seem to be taking good care of this masterpiece. I noticed missing flashings, chipped wall panels, wood veneer doors in a severe state of delamination and a general lack of care. I plan to write to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to inquire about maintenance procedures on this building. It’s too nice of a building to let fall into disrepair. This building also appears to have been an influence on the Caltrans District 7 Headquarters and the new Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters.

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How Do Spaces Become Places?

Written by Scott M B Gustafson

This past Tuesday I attended a live discussion hosted by KPCC, a public radio station in Los Angeles title “How Spaces Become Places.” This event was one in a series organized by the station to engage the public about issues that the region faces. The focus of this event was on urban transformation, development, community improvement and social engagement.

Places are activated locations of human habitation that have usefulness and meaning. Spaces, in this case, are un-activated, underdeveloped and dormant or decaying locations that are a drain on the value of a community.